Thursday, August 13, 2015

Milepost 2 on the Road to Wellness

My pulled muscle continued to bother me trough the remainder of June and into July.  In the end of July beginning of August I increased my exercise regimen to two days of walking then one day off. I have been keeping that up; except for the weekend I had the Norovirus.  Due to the severe heat my lawn mowing has taken a down turn.  


In July, my menu had some serious mistakes. I had three potato dishes, two rice dishes, and one corn bread dish.  My diet also took a hit during my bout with the Norovirus. I ended up eating potatoes, broth, pea soup and rice.  Once again it was a very carbohydrate heavy month.  One dish I made was Quaker Oats meatloaf with Irish colcannon.  I chose colcannon instead of regular mashed potatoes, because the dish includes kale and leeks.  It was tasty, and I learned a substitution trick. If a recipe calls for the spice mace, use four times the amount in nutmeg.

                                    Filipino chicken adobo

In early to mid-July I weighed myself at Weight Watchers, inside the Cedar Hills Crossing mall. I ended up with 377.  I had gained 2 lbs. I was very disappointed.  I went down the wrong path and went off my diet that evening. One thing I am doing better with portion control, I am no longer using my dinner plates, but my lunch plates instead. I need to cut down, my fast food intake, seriously.

                                               Tamale Pie

I went and had my blood work done at the end of July.  My doctor set up a phone appointment to discuss the results.  My triglycerides were a little high.  My doctor advised that I eliminate my red meat. I decided to limit it instead. For the month of August, I replaced turkey ham for ham and ground turkey for ground beef.  Mashed potatoes will be replaced with mashed cauliflower, to help with my carbohydrate intake. 

                                              Tortilla EspaƱola

My doctor also suggested I increase my seafood intake. At first I thought I could not afford it.  I later realized I could, if I went the canned or frozen routes.  My mom came back at the beginning of August and bought my some crayfish to help with what the doctor suggested.  I do have my Fred Meyer sushi splurge every 2nd of the month.

Quaker Oats meatloaf and Irish colcannon

The cooking is still on a serious learning curve.  I had not lost my touch with my signature dish Filipino adobo. I made Filipino chicken pancit for the first time, it was everything I remembered.  There are a few tweaks needed for that.  Carrots need to be put in at the end and the bean threads need a longer soaking time, possibly with boiling water.  The pancit recipe I use utilizes mung bean threads, so it is low in carbohydrates, high in protein, and gluten free. I made grandma’s zucchini casserole again in August, it also needs a few tweaks too.  This was the first time I baked it in a regular oven instead of using the microwave. Eggs need to be better beaten and it needed to be in the oven longer.

                     Grandma's zucchini casserole version 2

I need a smaller frying pan for tortilla EspaƱola AKA Spanish tortilla.   Flavor-wise it was spot on.  In June I received a Puerto Rican cuisine cookbook and in early August I picked up two Mexican cuisine cookbooks.  One was Mexican Cooking for Dummies and the second my 1000 Mexican dishes. The second was chosen for having a pipian dish; pipian is a sauce the uses seeds or nuts.  The version I was looking for used pumpkin seeds.  I had it once and loved it.  I lost my previous cookbooks with such a recipe.   The Mexican Cooking for Dummies was chosen, because before the cooking from scratch in May I always bought pre-packaged salsas and other Latin sauces.  There is even a recipe to make your own crema sauce.

                  Filipino chicken pancit with mung bean threads

I am able to do more than I was back in March or even last year.  Still trying to get some yard work done, but the summer heat is making it a difficult prospect.  I am walking late at night/ early in the morning in order to not cause issues. I think I pull my muscle in June, because I did too much in a small period of time without resting.

                                    Madras beef curry in the skillet

On August 7th, 2015, I was weighed by my doctor and again on the 12th by my dietitian.  I weighed in both times at 368 lbs.  My total loss is currently at 34 lbs.  My current goal is to be at 350 lbs by December.  Fifty pounds a year seems like a healthy weight loss.   I should at that weight also be down a couple more pants sizes and down to 3 XL tall for shirts.

                         Madras beef  curry with basmati rice plated

Goals from now on, I am working to increase the number of vegetarians dishes to two egg and two non egg based dishes.  The non egg based dishes can have egg in them, but they are not the central ingredient.  I need to trim the fast food down to once a week, the once every other. I plan to increase my walking in September to three days walking one day off, then in October four on, one off, and so on until I am walking daily with the occasional day off from time to time. Then I get to walking daily, I increase the distance.  Hopefully, I will get to increase the speed too. I plan to decrease my red meat intake to two or three dishes a month, not including eating out a few of times a month.   That means choosing better options, even when eating out. 

                               Stuffed Anaheim chiles

This is a lifestyle change, so it will be a work in progress.  I am constantly learning.  I am constantly changing what does not work and keeping what does.  I have to constantly remind myself this is a marathon, not a sprint.  In the four and a half months since I started this path since the end of March 2015, I have learned so much and much about myself.   I am handling it better than I thought I would have.   

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Inspirational Silliness

I have some online friends who challenge my perceptions with various posts.  One of these people is writer, David Walker of BadAzzMoFo, Cyborg (DC Comics), Number 13 (Dark Horse Comics), Shaft comic (Dynamite Entertainment), Darius Logan: Super Justice Force, and much more.  Recently he posted a Ted Talk video of Stella Young. (  She discussed disability and Inspirational Porn.  This is a cultural phenomenon where people of disabilities are used to inspire those without.  It is not just disabilities, people who have come out of certain traumas somewhat intact are treated this way too, traumas including childhood sexual abuse, childhood physical abuse, sexual assault, and domestic abuse.

This made me think about my personal experiences.  Many of us with physical disabilities are not given the access and tools we need to function, that is more a disability than the actual medical issue.  I may be reiterating what Ms. Young said in her talk, but her points are valid and poignant.  This holding folks with disabilities up on a pedestal and objectifying them and their struggle is a disservice too.  I have had people do that to me.  I felt like, “Hey get me off this pedestal, I am afraid of heights.”  Or, “Dude, this pedestal is so high I am getting a nose bleed.”  Some think they are empowering us, but in fact objectification does the opposite.  It makes us part of the other. Normalization of disabilities would be better. We need to see a wheel chair or hearing aid like we do a pair of glasses or a pair of left hand scissors.

I am writing this on the 25th Anniversary of the passage of Americans with Disabilities Act, July 26th, 2015.  I was at University of Oregon when that piece of legislation was passed.  I had been active in Students for Equal Access (the Disabled Students group).  At the time we had been working for the passage of this legislation, so our organization was extremely politicized.  People with disabilities just want to be seen as every day people.  If we are extraordinary it is because who we are, not our disabilities. 

I will admit I was one of those who bought into the lie of Inspirational Porn.  This is something I will no longer allow. I will remind myself that just getting up and functioning in and of itself is not some monumental accomplishment.  As a kid I did not think it was that big of a deal.  What I will strive for is to become the best me I can be. I will not be someone’s inspiration based on just being able to function. That is just silly. 

I understand that some may see my being able to overcome my daily and life challenges as inspiring, but do not objectify me.  Realize I am an imperfect human being; there are things about me that are unpleasant as there is about all of us.  I am more than my disabilities and history.  They are definitely part of who I am, but they are not all of what makes up the person I am.

This is similar to the Noble Savage objectification of Native Americans and other indigenous peoples.  Putting folks up on a pedestal takes some of their realness and their agency away.  This is what happens with Inspiration Porn to those with disabilities.  When people break out of the roles that society assigns them, society gets upset and uncomfortable.  Putting people into boxes and roles they did not choose is a disservice too.  Society is misplacing its expectations on people and it is not a healthy endeavor.   Human beings in general need to let people be flaws and all.  Acceptance is what everyone strives for, and trying to fit people into cookie cutter expectations does not work.  This Has Been My Not So Humble Opinion.